New homeowner tackling renovations one at a time

Published 7:03 pm Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jen Hudson is a runner. Every Saturday morning, rain or shine, she can be found running the local roads, taking in the sights. It was one of those sights — a for sale sign in front of a Runyon Hills home — that caught her eye over and over again. The end result: a new home, a learning curve and the satisfaction earned by “doing it yourself.”

Now Hudson, daughter Hannah and son Mack have settled in to the circa-1964 brick ranch house tucked in the wooded neighborhood just off of Brick Kiln Road.

“I was looking for just a modest home for the three of us, and a guest bedroom for my parents who live far away,” Hudson said. “I was just tired of renting.”

On June 16, just moments after the paperwork was signed, the Hudson family headed to their new home, with a job to do.

“We closed on the 16th at noon, and as soon as that was over, we came over and started pulling up carpet. … I don’t like carpet and it was wall-to-wall carpeting when I came in,” Hudson said.

Hudson decided to tackle the project herself. Beneath the carpet were the original hardwood floors that had seen better days. It was a project Hudson, and family, decided to take on themselves, with the help of some friends. It was also the first time Hudson had ventured into home improvement. As the carpet and corresponding staples and spiked bars went out, other needed changes slowly began to make themselves known.

PAY OFF: The first thing Hudson and her family did after signing the paperwork for their new home was remove the wall-to-wall carpeting to reveal hardwood floors. She also took a sledgehammer to a non-load-bearing wall, opening up the room to a combined living, dining and kitchen area.

A non-load-bearing wall separated a small living room from a small dining space. Hudson decided that needed to go, too, and she went about it in a most satisfying way — with a sledgehammer.

“That was probably the most gratifying thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she laughed.

For the house, it was a change for the better. Once gone, kitchen, dining and a small living area became a single space, more in keeping with modern home designs.

“The minute the wall came down, it changed the atmosphere of the whole room,” Hudson said.

There were a few surprises: behind a paneled chair rail in the dining room was old wallpaper that had to be removed; once the wall was gone, it became apparent there were two different types of crown moulding in living and dining areas, and the ceilings in each room had different textures — one smooth, the other, not. It slowed things down a bit, but the Hudsons rolled with the project, tackling what they could. Boyfriend Robert Griffin lent his assistance, as did Hudson’s running group the Soul Train Runners. Hours of sanding, painting and polyurethaning later, floors and walls gleamed.

“It’s certainly been a group effort, and that was fun,” Hudson said.

More importantly, doing the work herself has been cost efficient and has given Hudson not only a sense of ownership, but satisfaction.

“There’s something to be said about doing it yourself, and putting a little bit of you into the heart of the house,” Hudson said. “I walked away with a little peace, knowing I can do something like this. I’m just proud. I’m proud of it.”

She’s already got a list of other projects: building a mud room, a back entrance with a covered deck, renovating the kitchen and great room — and the list goes on. There are little projects and big projects, each one set on transforming this new house into the Hudsons’ house.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, so one step at a time,” Hudson said.

OUT BACK: The backyard of this Runyon Hills home stretches back to woods. Hudson has future plans for a deck, patio and more to take in the view.